Farewell 2021, part two, the summer months

Summer saw us cruising purposefully along the Trent and Mersey,
We said goodbye to April under the cherrytrees at Shardlow

Shardlow

And moved swiftly through May as the leaves turned green

We took the opportunity meeting friends from Mercia, at Fradley Junction, at Burton and Rugeley, before we arrived in Stone to meet with Mike Carter, who was going to do our Boat Safety certificate inspection. Thankfully we passed.

Visiting Friends always welcome


With just one further obligation to fulfil by the end of May, we arrived in Stoke to have our second vaccination. We were lucky enough to moor right opposite the Middleport pottery, where we caught it looking it’s absolute best with our favourite photographic dark combo, storm cloud and bright sunlight

Middleport pottery

In our four years of cruising we still get excited seeing our industrial heritage along the canals. But I will save you from the 100’s of photos I took of the bluebells as we took ourselves onto the Caldon canal for a mini break at beginning of June, they really are a May favourite.

Bluebells on the Caldon canal

The Caldon canal is a true gem, often overlooked by some, probably cause it’s narrow, twisty and home to the notorious Froghall tunnel, which has the lowest possible headroom on the system. Only the brave or foolhardy attempt to traverse it. I’m not sure which camp we are in but we won our silver propeller for reaching the Froghall basin.

Phew we made it through without getting stuck

June was a lovely month, we were healthy and happy being able to explore again. We returned to the Trent and Mersey, slipped through the Harecastle tunnel and turned right onto the Macclesfield. Last time we had been this way we were leaving Braidbar in our brand new boat in June 2017. We had been ploughing south in order to meet up with friends, (in the days before we realised you can’t rely upon a cruising plan for more than a day at a time, if that) we were determined to enjoy the Macclesfield more this time. Tim joined us for a few days and encouraged us to leave the Towpath and climb Mow Cop

On top of Mow Cop


It was lovely to see James and Donna at Braidbar. What with one thing and another, June and July became a leisurely and relaxed summer, I was welcomed back to the fabulous Wiseheart & Wild craft studio and with Tim living close enough to cycle, we filled our days with the pleasure of friendship. We meandered up and down the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canal back to Bugsworth basin

Bugsworth basin, near Whaley Bridge

Eric did some more work on the arials and solar panels

Caution, man at work

Our initial plans for the year had been to pick up our thwarted 2020 goal, to visit Chester. We had planned a convoluted route through Manchester, onto the Bridgewater, back down the T&M onto the Middlewich branch before heading north up the Shroppie….but we were thwarted yet again by a broken lock in Manchester that required a complex repair.

Bollington

August saw us returning down the Macclesfield, and turning right and going north up the T&M before we reached the Middlewich branch, “a new to us” canal. The weather wasn’t brilliant, but it was certainly dramatic.

And we finally made it to Chester by the end of August

The walls of chester

And of course the zoo was a highlight